Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds
After a recent home win, Louisville City FC’s Devon “Speedy” Williams wrote on the locker room whiteboard that he’d be taking the club’s next penalty kick — and that was before the midfielder gained the confidence of an international call up.
In his first game back from a friendly with the Jamaica National Team, Williams followed through, finishing a 55th-minute penalty Saturday to cap a solid all-around performance against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
“Speedy’s done so well,” forward Luke Spencer said after LouCity’s 3-0 away win. “He’s been another guy who’s been in and out of the team and had to sacrifice for the team. He earned the Jamaican call up for his hard work, and today he was brilliant.
“We wanted to reward our teammate for working hard on the pitch. We know he doesn’t always necessarily get the reward.”
Williams’ goal capped scoring in LouCity’s victory as he became the 16th of 17th field players on the roster with a goal this season. A graduate of Pittsburgh’s Robert Morris University, Williams also completed 85 percent of his 95 passes Saturday.
“He’s someone I look up to because of his work ethic,” said defender Kyle Smith. “It’s great to see him get a goal.”
Williams received the international call for a Sept. 2 friendly against a Canadian side that included LouCity teammate Mark-Anthony Kaye. Both subbed on in the second half, with Williams’ cap the second of his career — and first in seven years.
His comeback performance included four interceptions and a total of 18 gained possessions. Fans voted Williams their Man of the Match.
“He had a very strong performance,” said coach James O’Connor. “When you look at, even at the end, his energy with the way he’s closing people down and getting back to the midfield. He’s always looking to spin it forward. He’s got good quality and a solid future ahead of himself.”
Here’s more from Saturday’s win…
• Williams and Kaye weren’t the only LouCity players to show strength in their return. Out on a three-game red card suspension since Aug. 20, defender Kyle Smith scored LouCity’s second goal of the night in his return and nearly had another in the second half O’Connor said would have been a “goal of the season contender.
• LouCity completed a season sweep of its three-game series with the Riverhounds, topping them by an aggregate score of 7-0. Notably, the boys in purple are the first visiting club to win three games in a year at Pittsburgh’s Highmark Stadium, which was also the site of a 9-0 U.S. Open Cup win back in May over Tartan Devils Oak Avalon FC.
• Considering LouCity has rotated goalkeepers this season, the duo of Greg Ranjitsingh and Tim Dobrowolski have combined to create one of the top position groups in the USL. Ranjitsingh posted his seventh clean sheet of the year Saturday. Along with three more from Dobrowolski, they’ve matched league-leading Diego Restrepo from San Antonio FC, who has 10 clean sheets.